Sacheen Littlefeather - the beloved Native American civil rights activist who famously declined Marlon Brando's Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather, on his behalf, at the 45th Academy Awards in 1973 - has sadly passed away at the age of 75. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Sacheen's demise on Sunday night, i.e. October 2 (October 3 IST). The Academy shared an inspiring quote by Littlefeather to pay tribute to her.
"When I am gone, always be reminded that whenever you stand for your truth, you will be keeping my voice and the voices of our nations and our people alive. I remain Sacheen Littlefeather. Thank you," Sacheen Littlefeather had said in conclusion to her moving speech during An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather, an event organised by The Academy in September where their apology letter to Littlefeather was read out loud. Sacheen's death comes days after she formally accepted The Academy's apology - over the racist treatment she endured during and post Oscars 1973 - which was almost 50 years in the making.
David Rubin, then-Academy President, had written in The Academy's apology letter to Sacheen Littlefeather: "The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified. The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration," via The Hollywood Reporter.
"I was stunned. I never thought I'd live to see the day I would be hearing this, experiencing this. When I was at the podium in 1973, I stood there alone," Sacheen Littlefeather had told THR at the time of first receiving The Academy's apology letter privately in June.
Rest in power, Sacheen Littlefeather!